NBA Player Props: Expert Picks for Heat vs Celtics (5/19/23)
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NBA Player Prop Picks (5/19/23)
Take a look below at our favorite player props to see which players we are high (or low) on for this pivotal, potentially series-altering Game 2.
Game 1 between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics yielded a surprising outcome, with several players performing well above (or below) their expected range. Jimmy Butler was one of those players, posting an incredible line of 35 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and six steals. Who will be the breakthrough players for these teams in Game 2?
Jaylen Brown o2.5 Turnovers (-160)
Jaylen Brown’s playoff success against the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the 2023 Playoffs and in seven games of the 2022 Playoffs has been fairly solid; he has averaged roughly 24 points in those eight games on roughly 49% from the field and just shy of 40% from three on about 18 field goal attempts in those games. However, Miami does a terrific job of forcing Brown to play outside his comfort zone by playing physical defense and making his dribbling uncomfortable.
For instance, Brown thrives off of dribble-drive penetration and the mid-range, but if off-ball defenders dig in on those drives, he is prone to turnovers, especially against a stout Miami defense. Brown has turned the ball over four or more times in four consecutive postseason games against the Heat, including six times in Game 1.
This success should continue, as Boston will be forced to put the ball in the hands of its two best players (Jayson Tatum and Brown) in order to avoid going down 0-2. This is a must-win game and Brown’s usage rate (31.9% in Game 1) will be just as high, if not higher in Game 2.
Marcus Smart o22.5 PRA (-120)
After cashing the over on this line in Game 1, we are running it back once more. Smart held a masterclass on passing in Game 1, racking up 11 assists in 34 minutes of play; most of those assists came in the first half of the bout.
Marcus Smart's 10 assists ties the most by a Celtics' player in a half in the playoffs since Rajon Rondo recorded 10 in 2012 🍀 pic.twitter.com/ZOucMDQhio
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 18, 2023
Smart also put up 13 points on just seven shots, which is tied for his fewest field goal attempts so far this postseason. Further, he only pulled down one rebound when his 2023 Playoff average is four per game; Smart was still able to hit the over on this line.
Now, Smart has recorded 23 or more points, rebounds, and assists in four of his past six playoff games against the Heat, as well as in nine of the 14 playoff games this season.
Miami did a terrific job late in Game 1 against Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown; if that emphasis continues in Game 2, expect Marcus Smart to be the beneficiary of a lot of good looks in the half-court.
Max Strus o12.5 Points (-105)
We love getting near-plus money on a prop that has hit in six-straight games. Max Strus has really stepped up in the past handful of games after having some struggles early in the 2023 Playoffs and in last season’s playoffs.
In the past six games, Strus has averaged roughly 16 points on close to 50% from the field, 38% from deep, and 88% from the free throw line. The Heat have needed his shooting during their unexpected postseason run and will continue to need it.
Another reason to love this prop is the increase in volume; when he shoots at least ten field goal attempts in a game in the playoffs, he has hit the over on this line every time. With a likely increased emphasis on forcing Jimmy Butler to pass after that exceptional Game 1 outing, Strus should find plenty of clean looks within the offense.